MRSA possibly spreading at fire stations: study

June 8, 2011

Washington – Transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections may be occurring in fire stations, indicates research from the University of Washington School of Public Health in Seattle.

Researchers sampled nine different areas in two fire stations, conducted an education program and installed hand sanitizers, and then assessed each area again seven to nine months later. During the second analysis, they also took nasal samples from personnel at 13 stations, according to a press release from the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, which published the research.

Both samplings detected MRSA in all nine areas, with 4.3 percent of surface samples testing positive in the first assessment and 3.9 in the second. The most common locations for the bacteria were medic trucks, kitchens, and computer keyboards and desks.

Thirty percent of nasal samples tested positive for MRSA or S. aureus, and the majority of those were genetically related to environmental surfaces, suggesting the bacteria may have been transmitted between personnel and surfaces.

The study appeared in the June issue of the American Journal of Infection Control.